Importers paid US$32b in US tariffs on China tech imports-industry report

Roughly half of the US$32 billion in tariffs were paid on Chinese-produced computers and electronic products, CTA said. — Reuters pic

Roughly half of the US$32 billion in tariffs were paid on Chinese-produced computers and electronic products, CTA said. — Reuters pic

Wednesday, 20 Jul 2022 9:24 AM MYT

WASHINGTON, July 20 — Importers of technology products from China paid over US$32 billion (RM142.36 billion) worth of tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump between mid-2018 to the end of 2021, a new trade group report showed yesterday as the Biden administration continues to deliberate over whether to remove some duties.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) said in the report that the tech industry has reduced its dependence on China in the wake of the tariffs, but this has been offset by increased imports from Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and other countries.

Roughly half of the US$32 billion in tariffs were paid on Chinese-produced computers and electronic products, CTA said. Total “Section 301” tariffs paid on Chinese goods through July 13 totaled US$145.43 billion, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

The report comes as the Biden administration is trying to determine whether to remove some of the tariffs as a way to provide American consumers relief from high inflation, which remained low during the first two years that the tariffs were imposed.

Ed Brzytwa, CTA’s vice president of international trade, said in a statement that the tariffs were hurting US businesses, not solving China trade challenges.

“With rising prices across all sectors of our economy, removing tariffs would mitigate rampant and harmful inflation and lower costs for Americans,” he said.

CTA’s review of import trends since the tariffs were first imposed in phases in mid-2018 show that imports of Chinese tech goods hit by Section 301 tariffs fell by 39 per cent over the next three and a half years, while those not affected grew by 35 per cent.

China’s share of US imports of tech products hit by the tariffs roughly halved to 17 per cent in 2021 from 32 per cent in 2017, CTA said. About half of the US$32 billion in tariffs were for computers and electronics products.

The group said there was no such shift tech products unaffected by tariffs, with China accounting for 84 per cent of US imports in these categories in both 2017 and 2021.

But some imports of Chinese produced consumer tech goods were higher in 2021 than 2017 despite the tariffs, suggesting that the motivation among some companies to “leave China” had abated. Among these were digital cameras, certain cooking appliances and vacuum cleaners including robot vacuums. — Reuters